Sunday, February 8, 2015

War Printer

As mentioned in previous posts, I have a RepRap 3d printer that I have been using to print bits for wargaming. It has its own page where I will be putting more in-depth posts on the printing side of it.

Check it out:
War Printer 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Thoughts on Kas'trum and Old School Game Design.

The scenarios in Space 1889, especially those in the core books, have received a lot of criticism for being on rails. Some modern commentators have rightly remarked that players and game masters both are locked into a single story line. For example, if  On Gossamer Wings is played out as written, no matter what the players do to fix Professor Grant's ether flyer, they will always crash - no exceptions and no player input.

So too is much of the rest of the Space 1889 background. When working up possible organizations of my Martian lead pile, I found that the options I wanted to use did not fit into any of the published city states and especially not Oenotria. Instead, I put them in the previously unknown city state of Kas'trum. I wanted to put Kas'trum off to one side of the main British advance preferably in the swamps between Crocea and Gorklimsk. According to known maps, the only way the British can get to those swamps by water is through Crocea with canal routes further north blocked by mountains. Crocea itself is still powerful enough to block any raiding red men coming down the canal and the British are close enough to its walls to make shoe-horning in a decent sized city state difficult.  So what was I going to do? After much hemming and hawing, all I had to do was remember how we used to do things. I'll let Frank Chadwick speak from the designer's notes for the Soldier's Companion rules:
Let me close with a piece of general advice to players and referees alike. Miniatures gaming is a form of entertainment, and these rules are intended to provide you with the means of putting on an entertaining game. It is foolish, then, to let the printed rules stand in the way of your enjoyment. The bulk of this book should serve as testimony to the effort put into making it as complete as it can be, but a set of rules is sterile without an active set of players. If you disagree with anything in these rules, please feel free to modify it to suit your own tastes. Just don't argue about it while the game is being played. During the game, the referee's word is absolute law, above even the printed words of the rules.
So with a plan refreshed by this wisdom Crocea is going to get moved further south, new canals dropped into place and Kas'trum will be put exactly where it needs to be so nothing stands in the way of my enjoyment.  Besides, the Earther maps were likely wrong to begin with.

To no particular scale - but around 3.14159 miles to the hex.

This is entertainment. If you are not re-fighting particular historical battles or you are not playing in a tournament where consistent rules are a necessity, throw out the canon and rewrite the rules until you get the enjoyment out of the hobby that works for you. It's what we did in the old days so there is historical precedent.      

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Forces of Kas'trum for Space 1889 (and Happy Holidays)

In the swamps between the cities of Crocea and Gorklimsk lies the independent town of Kas'trum. Though out of the thick of the current war against the Earthers, Kas'trum provides an important gateway to the High Martian liftwood groves to the north. The exact details of this town are not yet known, but below is a brief report on the military forces thought to be under her control.

I sat down the other day to look over the new acquisitions as well as my existing troops and come up with some reasonable units. Unfortunately, RAFM packs provide figures in multiples of three while the official Soldier's Companion organizations are in multiples of eight. Eight and three don't factor well so it took a bit of thinking to make it all work. Ratings are all conjectural at this point but more or less follow the book.

Canal Marines
Marines simply because I like the blue scheme I used for the originals. A little light with only 15 in the unit rather than the usual 19, these will be pure shooters with rifle muskets or possibly breech loaders. I am thinking Regular V1S or E1S.

The Stalwarts
My conception of  Oh'ktava'an's experimental shield gunner company. One half company each of gunners and cutters, all troops get the +1 defensive bonus for being armoured. This is a defensive rather than offensive unit. Regular V0 or maybe even E0.

Kas'trum Civic Guard
Basic city infantry with the usual smooth bore shooter/cutter split. Irregular T2 or X2

Kas'trum Fencibles
A mix of armoured (+1 defensive bonus) troops  armed with shield guns and choppers in the front half company and a twelve man over strength cutter company in the rear. Another defensive unit Irregular T0 or X0. I might try splitting morale with the front half company getting V0 and the rear T0  or even G0

Kas'trum Volunteers
A mishmash of civic minded militia. Mixed shooters and cutters in the front half company with all cutters in the rear. These boys are enthusiastic but Irregular G1 or at best T1 armed with a few smooth bore muskets.

Pier Worm Roaster's Guild Social Club and Civil Defence Force "The Red Caps". 
Well known for their marksmanship but better known for their drinking, the Red Caps began as an informal gambling league when the Roaster's Guild started taking bets on who could pick off the most marsh slugs - rapacious predators of the pier worm. Marsh slugs have excellent vision making them a tough prey to tackle. The Red Caps bright head gear and garish clothing show in part their contempt for the eagle eyed slug.  Irregular X3S or V3S. Rifled muskets.
Second Troop, Third squadron Crocean Heavy Dragoons
A Gashant unit on loan from the city of Crocea, the 2/3 Dragoons give Kas'trum some mounted support. Regular V0H

Num'da's Raiders
A Hill Martian light cavalry unit hired by Kas'trum to provide long range scouting. Irregular T2

Kas'trum Scouts
Another half band of Hill Martian mercenaries, the Scouts provide reconnaissance and skirmish capability to the city forces. Irregular T2
Moeris Lacus Trucial Company "The Prince's Own" 
 A dual purpose unit. As loyal sepoys, The platoons can be split up and assigned to red forces to provide a much needed native scouting capability.  As mutineers, they can be used to give Martian forces a much needed boost to their fire power and morale. Regular X2 (I love these sculpts)

The Rest
Left over figures who will serve as overall field commanders, rebel leaders and other roles as required.

This will give me five possibly six companies with some supporting troops as well - note that the two Martian Whitworth guns are not depicted here. Hopefully, they will be able to take on a British platoon, maybe even two.

In any event they give me much to paint over the holiday period.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all! May your pier worms always be well smoked!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Magic the Gathering Pauper Draft

I last played Magic the Gathering back in the days of Ice Age with just a smattering of Alliances. I traded it all away for Jyhad / V:TES which I considered a more interesting game. Years later, board games are back and with them board game stores. Magic is back in public view and is no longer relegated to tournaments and niche stores.  You can even find cards at the dollar store.
A couple of friends wanted to play. Jamie has never stopped but Marc and I haven't picked up cards in years. So rather than buying pre-built decks of the latest release, we held a pauper draft last night with five packs each from  the dollar/pound store.  To do the draft, each player opens a pack, looks through the cards and selects one then passes the remainder to the right. The select and pass continues until all the cards from that pack have been distributed. Each player then opens another pack and the process repeats until all packs have bee distributed.  Basic land is added in as desired to make a fifty card deck.

For the old timers there were more than a few questions about card abilities but in the end we were able to muddle through. I was gratified to see a Legends reprint Cat warriors in my first pack - I could understand this card at least, and looking at the rest chose that as the basis of a green-black deck.  It was not to be since Marc was to my left and was also collecting green and snagged all the good cards.  I had to revert to a Black/White deck with a focus on graveyard recycling and low coloured mana cost critters and spells.   

The games went well with the usual problems of getting the land balance right. Jamie beat me pretty soundly with some new fangled magicky stuff. Marc and I took classical deck design approaches and had a couple of very close games. Two stand out. The first was where Marc had a heavily buffed up Cyclops ready to pound me to smithereens, and I played Eye Gouge sending it screaming to the graveyard. In another game I was hurting but Marc was down to 3. I attacked with a 1/4 which Mark did not block planning to kill me next turn with his creatures and I used a white border Transmutation to flip it to a 4/1 and killed him.  The old cards are still good cards.

It wasn't about winners and losers though, just a bunch of mates having a good time playing games.  I very much enjoyed playing and thought that I would enjoy getting back into it. Then I remembered that Magic is as addictive as crack and that a lead habit is much less problematic and costly than a card habit.

Top level decks in our area run between $250 and $2,000 to assemble, the "legal" cards change yearly if not more frequently and they're just frigging playing cards.

Back to buying lead I think.

But maybe just one more pauper draft.....